ABQ drug pipeline suspect nabbed - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ drug pipeline suspect nabbed

James Casady Cangro

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Whether by luck or coincidence, alleged white supremacist James Casady Cangro seemed one step ahead of federal law enforcement whenever agents came calling.

Newly unsealed court records show a U.S. probation office team searched an Albuquerque residence last fall after Cangro and other men were alleged to have been involved in home-invasion type robberies. But no illegal substances or firearms were discovered and Cangro, a convicted felon, was not arrested.

By early April of this year, an FBI investigation had identified Cangro as being part of a group suspected in a newly discovered Arizona-to-Albuquerque drug pipeline involving white power prison gangs. Two suspects were arrested April 13 after agents executed search warrants on various locations. Cangro could not be found.

Days later, FBI agents acting on a tip that Cangro had moved to a house on Euclid Avenue in Albuquerque spotted him going into the home. The next day, the FBI obtained court permission to search the place. But their suspect was on the move.

Not for long, though.

Some 650 miles away, an FBI arrest warrant out of New Mexico was waiting for Cangro when he attempted to cross into the United States from Mexico near Calexico, Calif., according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in the southern District of California.

Driving a blue Mazda SUV the morning of April 19, Cangro was flagged as an “Armed and Dangerous” subject wanted by the FBI in New Mexico for possession or ownership of body armor by a violent felon. He was arrested and taken into custody.

During a strip search hours later, corrections officials in El Centro found 45 fentanyl pills inside his lower body, and a bag of methamphetamine in his stomach.

Cangro, 41, is also charged with importation of a controlled substance and was in federal custody in California on Friday. Efforts to reach his federal public defender for comment weren’t successful.

Criminal activity

With the nickname of “Havic,” Cangro has been certified by corrections officials as a member of the Soldiers of Aryan Culture, a large white supremacist prison gang formed in Utah that has since gone nationwide, federal records state.

A New Mexico driver’s license photo of Cangro shows the figure “188%” tattooed above his right eye, indicative of 100 percent white power and 88 referring to “Heil Hitler,” the “H” being the 8th letter in the alphabet, according to a federal search warrant affidavit unsealed Thursday.

Another photo in the affidavit shows Cangro as a prison inmate with tattoos of the letters “SAC” for Soldiers of Aryan Culture on his lower stomach and “SAC” above that, with a red swastika and a blue iron cross.

Among prison gangs, SAC members rose through the ranks by committing violence against Hispanic and Black inmates, the affidavit states, and unlike most other white power prison gangs are “strongly anti-Semitic.”

The SAC engages in a number of criminal activities, including murder, assault, robbery, extortion, firearms trafficking and drug distribution.

In February, Cangro became a “subject” of the FBI investigation of drug and firearms trafficking from Arizona to Albuquerque that is linked to racially motivated violent extremist groups, according to federal records.

The drug trafficking organization originates in Arizona, where drug traffickers obtain methamphetamine, fentanyl pills and other drugs from the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. The drugs are transported to New Mexico, where they are sold for a higher price.

FBI agents here have been monitoring the activities of the group through social media, informants, cooperating defendants, recorded jail/prison calls and other means. So far, two men living in Albuquerque have been arrested on state drug trafficking charges.

Government witness

Before moving to New Mexico, Cangro was convicted in other states of robbery, aggravated assault and firearm-related charges.

His sole federal conviction involved allegations he wielded a machine gun while trafficking methamphetamine, according to federal records filed in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2004.

Cangro pleaded guilty to one count in that case, but escaped a hefty prison sentence by helping the government.

Federal prosecutors in Utah asked that Cangro serve only one year and a day, given that “he was an essential witness in the government’s case against members of the Soldiers of the Aryan Culture,” according to federal court records. Prosecutors stated he testified twice before a grand jury and was debriefed by law enforcement agents, and prosecutors.

“As a result of his cooperation, defendant has been subjected to direct and indirect threats from SAC, and his conditions of confinement have been affected,” the U.S. Attorney’s office in Utah wrote.

By the fall of 2009, Cangro, by then released from prison, was in Durant, Oklahoma, where he was arrested and charged with shooting a man in the head while taking his wallet. The victim lived.

Based on that charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Cangro’s federal probation was ultimately revoked and court records indicate he was sent back to federal prison in 2019 for 24 months.

Most of the documents related to the revocation in Oklahoma are sealed, except one noting that the defendant requested the federal Bureau of Prisons incarcerate him as “far away from Oklahoma and Utah as possible.”

It isn’t clear from court records when he arrived in New Mexico.

Ballistic vest

According to the FBI search warrant records unsealed Thursday, the FBI was continuing to gather evidence of the drug trafficking conspiracy by searching the Euclid Avenue residence where Cangro had been staying. The search occurred April 19, just hours after Cangro was arrested in California, according to an inventory filed with the warrant.

During the search, FBI agents found 11 firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun, methamphetamine, xanax, fentanyl, ammunition, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a Yamaha ATV quad, sports memorabilia, and a ballistic vest.

Court records show the New Mexico charge now pending against him relates to another ballistic vest discovered during the search last September by the U.S. Probation officers and Bernalillo County deputies.

Their search of an Albuquerque apartment where Cangro and a woman lived turned up a ballistic vest with a dagger in the chest plate area, handcuffs and a Glock pistol magazine loader, among other items, according to the affidavit.

The woman was on federal probation for human trafficking, and probation officers believed she was using drugs and violating her supervised release so they decided to conduct the search. They also received information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives indicating Cangro and others had been involved in home-invasion type robberies by pretending to be police officers, the FBI affidavit stated.

No firearms were found, but one or more firearms may have been removed from the premises before the search given that federal probation officers called ahead of their visit, the affidavit stated. As a convicted felon, Cangro is barred from possessing firearms.

The woman was ultimately arrested several months later, but Cangro went free. It wasn’t clear on Friday why he wasn’t arrested at the time on the charge of being a violent felon in possession of ballistic armor.

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